A leader that is not equipped with these things is like a light bulb without electricity, a computer without software, a space suit with no astronaut inside.
I’ve had the pleasure of empowering and developing leaders around the world. Over the years I have made a number of observations. However, as the years have gone by, I have become more troubled about the corrosion and corruption taking place in leadership.
I waited for a while to see if anyone would address these challenges, but it seemed like everyone was silent. Our silence often reveals that we are in agreement with what has become culturally accepted. So, I knew that I had to say something.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C
I was being mantled to address the challenges of twenty-first century leadership. Many leaders have thanked me for my honesty, authenticity and courage to address issues that are often swept under the rug in leadership.
What the world is looking for is soul leaders.
Soul leaders are empowered with strong convictions, deep passion and a true desire to see change in the world. I believe that a call is being issued to leaders around the world and this is the era for transformation. Here’s a look at three attributes of true soul leaders:
You value authenticity in leadership.
I believe that we will never repair the foundations of leadership without authenticity. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. We have all heard this definition but we have not grasped its understanding when it comes to leadership.
We are seeing questionable actions, scandals and deception in leadership unfold at an astronomical rate. The news is filled with stories of the high cost of compromised leadership. It is the pride before the fall; collapsing corporations, organizations and nations.
Ultimately, like you, I believe that without a course correction we will see a total collapse of leadership globally. Deceptive practices are destroying the foundation of leadership. You know that leaders must lead from a place of authenticity. Authenticity is not a cliché. Authenticity is a choice that creates the climate of our organizations. Authenticity is not negotiable. It is an absolute necessity for twenty-first century leaders.
You aim to infuse soul back into leadership.
I’m no stranger to observing the odd looks I’ve received from leaders as I bring up the concept of the soul and the heart in leadership. Many leaders cannot wrap their minds around why the soul is so important to leadership.
However, as someone that has been developing leaders for years, I know that leadership is in shambles today because many leaders no longer infuse the soul into how they lead. For example, my leadership ideals have been influenced by legendary leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu and others. All of these leaders knew the importance of bringing the soul into leadership.
It was the passion and principles of these leaders that makes their leadership so enduring. We are lacking soul leaders today. Instead we have produced cold, callous, competitive and combative leaders that have no care or concern for the welfare of humanity.
Infusing soul into leadership is bringing the heart back into leadership. With this in mind you realize that we have relied on intellect for too long. Now it is time to consult the heart. It is time for leaders to once again possess a genuine compassion, connection and concern for those that they lead.
Soul leaders are masters at marrying the head and the heart. They realize that it takes intelligence and intimacy to create impactful organizations in the twenty-first century.
You recognize that there’s a wisdom famine.
While we have many smart and sophisticated leaders, we also have a famine of wisdom in this generation. We have acquired a lot of information, but we have not accessed wisdom. While I am a firm believer in research, sometimes you cannot rely on data alone to make decisions.
Sometimes you have to go deep within yourself and access the place of wisdom. Other times you need to talk with other leaders and mentors before making decisions.
Great leaders are intrinsically connected to their organization and assess how their decisions will impact every “part of the whole”. Wisdom has become the last thing that leaders reach for and it’s often regarded as a low value resource. However, soul leaders understand that wisdom connects us to that authentic space within us all. Wisdom lives in our hearts and it is collected through our experiences. In all of our data we must never forget to find wisdom.
Soul leaders are instrumental to the next era of leadership. While the challenges are great, I believe that we can turn the tide of leadership. The decisions we make today will design what leadership looks like in this era.
Are your decisions designing the type of life and leadership structure that you desire to build? When we build without ethics we create structures without foundations. Build according to a pattern that will preserve leadership for generations to come. You can change the trajectory of leadership forever. Accept your leadership challenge today!
This article has been edited and condensed.
Jamelle Sanders is the CEO of NC-based Jamelle Sanders International. Jamelle is committed to empowering entrepreneurs and leaders around the world to live up to their true potential and to profit wildly in their businesses. Jamelle is a life coach, business coach, author, leading empowerment specialist and highly respected thought leader. Jamelle is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and has been featured on NBC, Huff Post Live and contributed to numerous media outlets such as Inspiyr, Young Upstarts, Elite Daily and numerous others. Jamelle has successfully empowered leaders and entrepreneurs around the world to succeed in business and in life. Connect with@JamelleSanders on Twitter.